Thursday, 28 November 2013

Apartment Hunting - Södermalm Classic - Space Planning

For our inaugural Apartment Hunting space I decided to go with a classic Swedish floor plan.  This plan is found in the older buildings and comes in all sizes.  This particular plan in Södermalm is a cool 181m2 and 12 000 000 SEK.  Pretty unattainable for most of us.

But as I mentioned in the last post, we are going to spend, spend, spend.  So in the spirit of money's no object, let's have a bit of fun with this one shall we.  Our client will be a professional couple with two kids.  They want a space that will reflect contemporary values on living/kitchen areas while maintaining the traditional Swedish vibe by going with a Gustavian inspired colour scheme and decor.
Södermalm Apartment - Before

1.  The Kitchen

Back when these apartments were built the kitchen was not a priority.  It was kept out of sight and out of mind, and allotted as little space as was possible.  Times have changed and the kitchen is THE place to be.  Having the available time to spend hours in the kitchen is something of a posh thing now. The kitchen for our little castle in the sky will be moved to the main area, just on the other end of the washroom (keeping in mind the location of the existing plumbing)  The area is bigger there, allowing for a nice spacious kitchen with an island, but most importantly it will be directly beside the living room. 

2. The Partition Wall

The wall dividing the new kitchen and the living room is indicated as being a partition wall and not having any structural value.  With that in mind, I would like to open up the space by moving the doorway to the centre of the wall and widening it.  I am not a big fan of complete open concept but rather the freedom to have either.  I think open concept makes sightlines overwhelming and if you have kids, all that junk they haven't picked up stares back at you from every angle!   If we make a large doorway with pocket doors the kitchen can be open or closed off from the living room whenever one chooses.

Södermalm Apartment - After
3.  The Dining Room

The room to the right of the living room will be a formal dining room.  It can double as an office or homework room when the family are not entertaining.  This keeps all the "living" areas together and the bedrooms will be in the back, which are usually the rooms overlooking the courtyard.  I also want to close the doorway into the dining room from the front entry.  This allows for a nice space for a vignette or an impressive piece of art, which would be immediately visible upon entering the front door.

4. The Front Entry

To me, there is something funky about having a pathway that leads from the living room into a bedroom and out to the other bedrooms.  Perhaps at one point it was a library.  We are going to change that and by doing so there will be a passage from the front to the bedrooms and one to the living areas.  I love the French balcony which lights up the entry and gives a view.  Quite a luxury for Stockholm.

5.  Old Kitchen

Becomes the master bedroom as it has a walkout to the balcony.  Again, it makes better sense to have all the bedrooms together on the quieter side of the apartment.  The other two bedrooms will be for the kids.

6.  Bathroom and Powder Room

Stay where they are.  In buildings you don't usually have much freedom here.

Next time we will look at Gustavian colours and perhaps some quintessential Gustavian inspired furnishings.


Friday, 22 November 2013

Programming Note for the "Most Wonderful Time of the Year"

You must be wondering why I haven't mentioned the "most wonderful time of the year" yet.  Look I love Christmas just as much as the next gal, in fact it's my favorite holiday but I feel Christmas is one of those things that can build up in the system, like Mercury for example, and ruin the whole thing forever. So with that in mind - we don't want Christmas to become toxic for you - Design Stockholm will be Jul and Christmas heavy with shopping tips, cultural info, pics, recipes and perhaps even some Swedish Jul carols (I know, I know) but not until December!

So take a deep breath.  Enjoy the dark, rainy weather knowing that here at Design Stockholm Jul is just around the corner, but it's not here yet.

During the last week of November we'll go back to where it all began at Design Stockholm, Södermalm (click here for a refresher) where we'll launch a new feature which will take a look at space planning, colour schemes and style specific decorating ideas.

Until then, enjoy the view from Åhlens City. 



Thursday, 21 November 2013

Stockholm Directory - Två Sekler Present and Inredning

Along Odengatan between Torsgatan and Norrtullsgatan, there is a collection of  antique and curiosity shops. I always find these shops a little more intimidating to browse as they are often very small, cramped and the proprietor is usually a bit of a wild card, so to speak.  I felt  particularly sociable the other day and decided to check out a few of them.  Design Stockholm's latest addition is one of these shops.  Två Sekler Present and Inredning is an eclectic mix of antiques, new and reproduction furniture, lighting and decorative objects.  The proprietor is lovely.  The basement, which houses some of the antique stock, is a small and appropriately charming space dug directly into the stone.  Två Sekler doesn't have a website so this is a place you'll have to check out in person.  You'll likely find a few things you love.



Två Sekler Present and Inredning
Odengatan 94
113 22 Stockholm
tel. 08 31 51 51
mobile. 0709 90 13 12

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Trends - Dark Paint for Walls

I was saying to a friend the other day that trends will naturally start to move to darker colours after so many years of everything being clean and white. People need to see something different.  I have always loved dark rich red - as I've mentioned several times (here and here), red is one of my go-to colours.  Apparently everyone is talking about the trends toward darker colours for walls, even here in Scandinavia.  What's my take on this Scandinavian move to such unfamiliar territory?  I don't see it lasting very long.  The winters are simply too long and too dark for Scandinavians to be able to live surrounded by dark walls without going crazy.  No one, however, can argue with the dynamic look that can be achieved with a deep rich colour in the walls.  So let's take a look at some great dark coloured spaces.

This kitchen has dark floors, cabinets and ceiling yet because of the heavy lacquer, it reflects light beautifully.

The white furniture and accents in this space help offset the darker colours on the wall.

The Asian influences here are many and I absolutely love this space.  Everything works seamlessly together, from the grid accents of the wall panel to the curved legs of the table
 and the playful plants.


The blue walls here work very nicely with the natural wood elements and the brown chair. 


Now let's look at dark bathrooms.  Even in the smallest bathroom, with or without windows, dark walls seem to work.  Here are a few of my favorites.

If you are going to go with purple, go all the way!

Simple.  Although I think I would have gone with a white toilet seat.  I generally don't like decorating with words or sayings but the quality and size of these letters save it from looking cheesy.

The best for last!  The walls are rich, with art from floor to ceiling.  A nice quality rug over deep wood floors (not enough people realize that wood floors in a bathroom is often better than tile, especially if you live in a cold climate - like Sweden.  But that's a blog for another day.)  This look is super easy, relatively inexpensive and anyone can do it.



Thursday, 14 November 2013

Stockholm Directory - Tabbouli House

Tabbouli House is a wonderful surprise tucked away on Scheelegatan in Kungsholmen.  With deep red walls, one of my go-to colours,  and a contrasting teal ceiling, it's a far cry from the typical Swedish aesthetic.  The product line is curated with an elegant selection ranging from Moroccan tiles to lighting to cushions and textiles and seasonal decorative finds.  Tabbouli House is the type of place you can go back to again and again.

Tabbouli House

Scheelegatan 4
112 23 Stockholm

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Delays, Derailments and Rain

Stockholm Central Station was basically shut down because of a derailment at the Stockholm Södra station.  All of Stockholm's rail traffic was affected.  There were delays.  And it rained.  It promises to be rainy and overcast all week.  So here's a look at some of the colours of Stockholm to brighten up this grey week.

Postal Bike

View to Södermalm from kungsholmen 


Boat Along Strandpromenad

Pillar Outside P.U.B.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Today is a day of technical web stuff to make DesignStockholm even better.  Things may get wonky.  Sorry and thanks for your patience.  Have a great weekend filled with Fredagsmys and lordagsgodis!

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Stockholm Directory - Superfront

SUPERFRONT makes doors and counter tops that fit the dimensions of IKEA cabinets and wardrobe systems.  The designs are fantastic and come in an array of colours not carried at IKEA.  The look is clean yet decorative without losing that typical Scandinavian aesthetic.  What I love about this is that it makes things so easy ...  and it's affordable.  Furthermore, if you went with an IKEA kitchen the first time around and now want to update, you can completely change the look and feel of your kitchen in just a few days, for a fraction of the cost ... by yourself (or with a friend)! 


Images -

Perfect for bedrooms and consoles as well.  They also have a great collection of legs, knobs and pulls.

Tegnergatan 5
111 40 Stockholm



Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Savory Tomato and Red Pepper Soup

It's the first week of November and things are getting chilly here in Sweden.  Soup is one of my favorite foods to make and it's perfect for long cold winter days.  Not to mention nutritious. Here's a savory twist on the classic tomato soup with  red peppers, curry and other rich spices.  Although not particularly Swedish per se, the Swedes do seem to love their curry *smak.

olive oil
4 cloves crushed garlic
2 large red onions
6 large chopped tomatoes
5 sliced, lightly roasted red peppers
6-8 leaves chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup brown sugar
2-3 bouillon cubes
salt to taste
black pepper

In a large soup pot simmer on medium heat oil, garlic and onions until soft but not brown.  At the same time you can bake the peppers, lightly drizzled in olive oil, in the oven until they soften.  Add the tomatoes, peppers, basil and sugar to the pot and continue to simmer until tomatoes start to liquefy, stirring often.  Add cumin, cinnamon and curry - spices are personal, which is why I have not specified an amount.   Start off light and increase to taste.  I recommend no more than 1 teaspoon of each.  Add water making sure that the water level comes to just under the level of the veggies in the pot.  This will ensure that you get a nice thick soup consistency.  Add bouillon cubes according to the approximate amount of water (1 cube / 3 cups water).  Simmer with lid on for 45 minutes to an hour on low, stirring occasionally  Let cool slightly then blend away large chunks with a hand blender.  Finish with fresh ground pepper.

*smak - Swedish for taste or flavor.  Pronounced smock 

Monday, 4 November 2013

Front Entrance Storage Ideas

Despite their generally clean, minimal  aesthetic, the Swedes tend to have cluttered and unorganized front entrances.  Coats are hung on exposed hooks and the shoes are placed just below on the floor or on a shoe rack.  Its the place where you greet your guests and the first thing you see when you return home.  The front entrance should be clean and, of course, welcoming.  Here are a few ideas to keep your entrance uncluttered and stylish.

"Havdhem" Storage Bench - G.A.D. Stockholm
"Elmwood" Cabinet - Artwood

"Smögen" Hatthylla - Mio
"Hemnes" Skoskåp - IKEA

"Tvättkorg Hoogla" - Granit